What is paradoxical undressing?

Beware of cold!
Beware of cold!

One of the biggest concerns when skiing or camping during the winter season is hypothermia. Most of the time when we go outside we are all too well prepared but we all know that disaster can strike anytime. Hypothermia is always around the corner waiting for someone to fall to the rude conditions of winter. What this hub is about is paradoxical undressing, a more advanced stage of hypothermia that not many people know about.

What is paradoxical undressing?

Many specialists are uncertain of the main cause of paradoxical undressing. Basically what happens is that someone will deliberately take off their clothes even when they are suffering from serious hypothermia. The most logical thing to do is certainly to keep our clothes on to prevent further loss of heat. When paradoxical undressing strikes, most of the body is already shutting down due to cold. When victims are found naked outside, we commonly think that they are victims of assault but they could as well have suffered from paradoxical undressing.

The body tries to keep the heat at the core of the body. Doing so, the extremities of the fingers and the toes lose their heat because the heart pumps blood away that is sent to the core of the body in order to maintain the vital organs working. The legs and arms then get the same treatment and the paradoxical undressing behavior happens. It happens because of vasolidation.

What is vasolidation you ask? It's when the muscles get tired and relaxed due to cold and then open up to release what's left of heat in them. This heat reaches the extremities of the hands and feet. The victim, who is already confused from hypothermia, feels a rush of heat through the whole body and in a feeling of overheat, removes his clothes to feel better. Since the body lost all the protection against cold, it will only accelerate the process of complete shutdown. The body is now deprived of any chance to restore body heat and it will ultimately reach death.

Rest In Peace James Kim
Rest In Peace James Kim

The tragic story of Kim family

The story of the Kim family traveled all around the world. It was in December 2006 during the Thanksgiving holidays. It was on their way back from Seattle that tragedy happened. There was a big snowstorm that night and they decide to take an alternate route. The roads were really bad and it seems at that point they decided to backtrack and go back to the main road. But due to fatigue they decide to stop the car and rest, heating themselves with what was left of fuel. After several hours of waiting and with no more fuel. James decided to go seek for help.

James Kim is found dead two days after they find Kati and the kids, as he courageously went to find help. He was discovered with his clothes off and he had left his clothes behind him. On that day, some people believe that James Kim suffered from paradoxical undressing before the last bit of life left him. There was a one hour report on television telling their story. It was told by his wife and the many people who worked day and night to find James Kim.

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Comments 4 comments

Lover girl456 4 years ago

I think everybody should know about this stuff


The Reminder profile image

The Reminder 4 years ago from Canada Author

Lover girl456:

Yeah it's one of the winter dangers not many people are aware of.


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

I never learned about this in ROTC. They should introduce such a topic. This was very interesting! Voted up!


The Reminder profile image

The Reminder 3 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks writinglover for the kind comment. What does ROTC stands for?

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